An Autism Connection

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Five for Sunday

As usual, I am a day late and a dollar short. Make that 2 days late. Plus it's been forever since I blogged, although I have thought about the blog often. The beginning of the school year caught up with me. I have been pulling in 50-60 hour weeks and being totally exhausted by the time I cross the sound on the ferry and get home. The last thought on my mind is to blog. I was eating and then going to bed. I finally said enough, and started leaving work earlier, but am still doing long hours. This is because I still have not received funding for the classroom, so I have to make up everything as I go. I don't know how many times I have been told the items have been ordered, only to discover it isn't true. I was told again last week that it has been ordered and that stuff should start trickling in next week. I am not holding my breath. It makes for an unsettled feeling for me and for no flow with my lesson plans as I keep expecting my curriculum to come through, so I do temporary kinds of lessons. It has been not only  exhausting, but stressful and frustrating too. Oh well, that is the life of a teacher these days.

Enough complaining, I thought I would join up with  doodlebugs teaching Five for Friday link up. This isn't for the past week, though, but my 5 for the past month!!

1. We have been going on our twice a week community outings. We are lucky enough to have a shopping center with a 15 minute walk from our school. This center has all kinds of shops, including a Target, a grocery store and  drug store, a Barnes and Nobles, and lots of smaller stores for us to visit.

 We go in with a sheet a paper and basically do a scavenger hunt for products. With the lower kids, we just find the shelf and have the students match the object. With the higher kids, we look at aisle headings, we ask an employee, or we go from aisle to aisle. We are not yet at the point of buying anything, since not one parent sent in any money when I requested some at the beginning off the school year. I will try again in January, but otherwise, I will have to take money out of my pocket and I am not quite ready to do that yet. Here is an example of one of our scavenger hunts to  the Rite Aid.

2. Here are pictures of a couple  of my centers. The first is the Language Arts center. I purchased the writing journals from The Autism Helper, thank you very much. We alternate between writing and reading journals, and on Fridays we have quiet reading. I added this last one because I discovered my students couldn't do it. We had to model it for them before they finally started thumbing through the books. Because I have a wide range of reading levels, each bin has an assortment of books at different levels and interests, from fiction and seasonal books, to non-fiction titles. My student interests currently are tornadoes, tsunamis, lightning, sharks, and anything Disney.

A couple of my students are non verbal and non writers so they have their own reading and writing hands on tasks on the top shelf. Their writing binders include cutting and tracing activities.

Next is our life skills center. It is attached to my classroom and we work on a variety of skills from cooking to laundry, washing dishes, and an assortment of work boxes, which are located in a big cabinet in the hallway between the bathroom and this kitchen. The bottom picture are my hygiene baskets. We do hygiene right after PE/Lunch and boy do these stinky middle schoolers need it.

3. Next is Halloween. We had a lot of fun with this. I, and one of my Paras, brought in an assortment of hats and glasses for the kids to try on throughout the month. We took pictures for their scrapbooks, an idea that I borrowed from the Autism Tank. We do scrapbook pages at the end of each month and will compile them at the end of the school year to send home. Here are some of the fun costumes and an art activity we did:

4. On one of our walks, one of my students walked by a bush and stripped a branch of it's berries. I caught him trying to bring them to his mouth and made him throw it away. The next day, he picked up a Chines Lantern flowere from the field at lunchtime and brought it in to the classroom. I saw him squeeze something that looked like a tomato right next to his mouth, and saw the pulp. He made a face and threw it on the table. When I saw it was one of the flowers from that plant, I had the Para take him to the restroom to rinse his mouth and face and then sent him to the school nurse. When I looked it up online, it's super poisonous, along the same lines as Deadly Nightshade, AAAGGGHHH. That was my scream of panic. Poison control and parents were both called. In the end, he didn't have any bad effects because most of it ended up on his face and not in his mouth. I whipped up a Poison unit on the spot and did the unit for the next week. The motto was, " Ask before you taste, touch or smell". And everywhere we went, we pointed out plants and objects and asked whether they were poison, or not. I hope we got the message across!! We'll be revisiting it often.

5. Finally, yesterday my son got engaged to his beautiful girlfriend and he made the ring himself!
 I am thrilled for them both and am eagerly awaiting their wedding next fall!